Wednesday, 12 June 2024

Cal Fire reports on end of 2007 fire season

LAKE COUNTY – As of 8 a.m. Monday, Oct. 22, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's (Cal Fire) 2007 fire season is officially at an end for Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit.

“The significant rain we have had thus far, and the forecast of additional precipitation, will allow the unit to transition from fire season into a winter readiness mode,” Unit Chief Ernie Loveless said in a written statement.

Fire Prevention Specialist Suzie Blankenship told Lake County News that Cal Fire's Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit has 225 personnel and 400 seasonal firefighters across 21 stations, two conservation camps and two bases for air operations. The unit covers 2,102,000 acres in the State Responsibility Areas in all of Lake, Napa and Sonoma, and parts of Colusa, Solano and Yolo counties.

In Lake County alone Cal Fire covers 390,000 acres, Blankenship said, and has three unit stations.

Cal Fire reported that the end of fire season in the Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit coincides with the closing of the fire season in the neighboring Santa Clara Unit, which includes Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Alameda, and the areas of Stanislaus and San Joaquin west of I-5.

With the end of fire season, Cal Fire is releasing seasonal firefighters, downstaffing some fire stations and ending contracts for fixed wing aircraft such as air tankers. Loveless said the reduction in staffing and resources “is indicative of a major reduction in the wildland fire danger.”

However, Loveless said area residents need to remember that even with the rains, a period of dry windy conditions could dry fuels to the point where wildland fires are possible. As a result, Loveless said Cal Fire is prepared to quickly “ramp up” if conditions dictate.

Cal Fire reported that the end of fire season also lifts the suspension on burning permits in State Responsibility Areas. State law requires those burning in State Responsibility Areas to have a permit from Cal Fire from May 1 until the end of declared fire season.

To conduct controlled burns, individuals must meet all fire and air pollution permit requirements, according to Cal Fire, who urged the public to contact their local fire agency and air quality district for requirements.

The burn ban in the county at large is up to the Lake County Air Quality Management District, said Blankenship.

On Friday Bob Reynolds of the Lake County Air Quality Management District reported that the burn ban was lifted. All burns in the Lake County Air Basin require burn permits, Reynolds said.

A busy fire season

“Lake County had a lot of fires,” Blankenship said of the 2007 fire season.

However, none were overly large, she added.

The largest was a 128-acre fire near Robinson Rancheria that broke out July 28, said Blankenship. Investigators eventually concluded that the fire was caused by children playing with matches.

The season's second-largest fire, said Blankenship, was a 100-acre fire near that broke out July 16 near the Noble Ranch subdivision off of Spruce Grove Road.

That fire ignited when a plastic tarp flew into power lines, which shorted the lines, causing one of them to break, according to a report from Cal Fire Battalion Chief Eric Hoffman. That broken power line then hit the ground, igniting the fire.

Blankenship said 60 percent of all human-caused fires during fire season are caused by equipment, particularly use of mowers in the heat of the day after the relative humidity drops.

As we head into the cooler months, Blankenship said Cal Fire is encouraging county residents to clear the required 100 feet of defensive space around their homes, which will help protect them during the fire season.

Cal Fire reported that the closing of fire season doesn't end the agency's fire protection responsibilities.

Cal Fire provides year round emergency response as the fire department for Napa County, the Town of Yountville, the South Lake Fire Protection District and The Sea Ranch. Additional response is also provided by contract to the Cloverdale Fire Protection District and to Sonoma County in both the western and southern portions of the county.

In addition, Cal Fire also provides personnel and incident management expertise for emergencies statewide, including earthquakes and floods.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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